Photo of Anca Velisar, Kate Agathos, Natela Shanidze & Al Lotze with words Eye-Head Lab underneath

Shanidze Lab

Welcome to the Eye-Head Movement Lab! Our laboratory is interested in how changes in visual and/or vestibular function affect eye/head coordination, balance, and mobility, particularly in aging.

We are currently pursuing two main lines of research:

1. The effects of central visual field loss on eye and head movements and stability, especially in everyday tasks such as locomotion.

2. The effects of lifetime noise exposure on vestibular function and how potential vestibular deficits affect balance and mobility across the lifespan.

For more information about our research projects, please see the "Projects" tab below.


Journal Articles
Eye Movements in Macular Degeneration. (2020). Eye Movements in Macular Degeneration. Annual Reviews Of Vision Science, 7.
Motion perception in central field loss. (2019). Motion perception in central field loss. Journal Of Vision, 19, 20–20.
Effects of task demands on smooth pursuit gain in macular degeneration. (2020). Effects of task demands on smooth pursuit gain in macular degeneration. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Annual Meeting: Canceled due to COVID.
  • Collage of RERC staff mebers and RERC projects

    Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center

    The Center's research goal is to develop and apply new scientific knowledge and practical, cost-effective devices to better understand and address the real-world problems of blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind consumers

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  • schematic of an eyeball with pupil labeled and arrow indicating direction of gaze

    Challenges in Head-Free Eye Tracking in Health & Disease

    This project is focused on investigating sources of error and potential improvement methodologies for head-free eye tracking, particularly in individuals with known oculomotor deficits

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  • Characteristics of Smooth Pursuit in Individuals with Central Field Loss

    Characteristics of Smooth Pursuit in Individuals with Central Field Loss

    This project investigates the properties of smooth pursuit eye movements in individuals with macular degeneration. Commonly believed to be a fovea-linked eye movement, smooth pursuit has not been previously investigated in individuals with central field loss, despite its importance for tracking moving objects, such as vehicles or pedestrians on a busy street.

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  • Experimental equipment: head-mounted eye-tracking goggles and head movement sensor

    Coordination of Eye and Head Movements in Central Field Loss

    This project investigates the interaction between central field loss (CFL) and vestibular function.

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  • drawing of an ear with sound waves coming towards it

    Effects of Noise Exposure Across the Lifespan on Balance and Stability in Older Adults

    Falls in older adults are common, have high societal and monetary costs, often lead to injury and can even be fatal. It is known that noise can damage the vestibular periphery resulting in postural instability and compromised balance. This project investigates how natural aging is accelerated by lifetime noise exposure, and how that can lead to impaired vestibular function, contributing to propensity to fall.

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  • Image of the retina with a centroid target superimposed. The fovea is off-center from the target.

    Fovea Use During Smooth Pursuit

    There is continuing debate as to whether smooth pursuit relies on the foveation of a moving target, especially when the target is compact.

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  • pencil drawing of the robot design

    Robotic Oculomotor Simulator

    Current eye tracking and calibration algorithms do not accommodate eccentric viewing and the capacity for accurate eye tracking is difficult to assess in individuals with central visual field loss, and few studies of naturalistic oculomotor behavior exist. To address this problem, we are developing a binocular robotic model of the human eyes that can simulate fixation and eye movements with an eccentric preferred retinal locus in one or both eyes and allow for precise assessment of eye tracking performance of head mounted computer vision-based eye tracking systems.

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  • Cartoon of falling apple

    Vestibular Function in AMD: Verticality Perception

    To accurately perceive one’s own state and that of the surrounding environment, visual, vestibular and somatosensory inputs must be appropriately weighted and dynamically reweighted depending on the environment and task difficulty, as well as signal reliability (and availability). Aging is associated with an increase on visual dependence (a greater weighting of visual information). In this project we investigate how loss of visual information due to AMD affects this reweighting process and if an increase in visual dependence may be maladaptive in AMD.

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  • The dots on the left are moving faster than the dots on the right side of the screen

    Motion Perception in Central Field Loss

    The project investigates motion perception in individuals with vision loss due to central retinal lesion, but who retain healthy peripheral retina. Healthy peripheral retina is exquisitely sensitive to fast speeds, however, there is limited and conflicting information about motion processing in residual peripheral retina in patients with central field loss, often due to macular degeneration. We use psychophysical and eye tracking approaches to systematically probe speed and direction sensitivity in this  population. 

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